In terms of food blogging this year has been a bit of a wipe out, I dropped Daring Bakers, Daring Cooks, making my own bread, ice cream and french macarons. I stuck to simple dishes when I blogged at all, that were either left for hours to slow cook, or were ready in a matter of minutes.

While this was necessity – you can’t plan a wedding while still working a 40 hour week and have time to keep up with the making, photography and posting cycle.

In 2012 I want to get back into pushing the boundaries a little. As much as Daring Bakers and Cooks was really great at pushing you to try new things, I did spend an inordinate amount of time pushing myself to make things that I would never have eaten if I had the choice. Like those marshmallow disaster cookies. I cried over those, tears of anger and disappointment.

While I am not sure I necessarily want to go through anything like that again – you don’t learn if you don’t push the boundaries. Learning new recipes is all very well and good, but really what you need to learn is new frameworks. Ideas that catapult you out of your everyday dishes, like learning to make bread – once you have the technique millions of new recipes are open to you.

Next year I will learn how to :

  • Make my own pasta from scratch. Fresh pasta is so much better than dried, and the one time I attempted Ravioli it was pretty amazing. I would love to try this tortellini recipe.
  • Bake, ice and decorate a cake. Obviously the perfect time would be Christmas – but I didn’t have time this year. I could use birthdays as an excuse to practice!
  • Make my own bread. I loved working my way through the Bread Bakers Apprentice, but I haven’t made bread in ages. This year I want to :
    • Make this Rosemary and Garlic loaf.
    • Find the perfect sandwich loaf. I love toast and sandwiches but most of the loaves I have made so far just aren’t suited to this.
    • Making this pull-a-part cinnamon bread. Mr Coffeemuffins loves cinnamon and I have promised to make him cinnamon buns, but I think this pull-apart bread could be even better!
  • Eat more vegetarian. After my brief dabble in Vegetarian Christmas meals for a friend, I would love to eat more vegetarian food, and get some really great dishes in my repertoire.
  • Make a Soufflé. With their reputation of being difficult to make I have always avoided trying to make one. But you know what, it can’t be that hard. Can it?
  • Be more locally minded. This can mean anything from buying locally, to making more traditionally Scottish recipes. Next step Haggis…
  • Bake Profiteroles. Ok so after what I just said adding Choux pastry seems a bit wrong, but I have always wanted to try this. I even booked to go to a Choux Pastry class in 2011 – only to have it cancelled at the last moment. This year I have to try, while I love the idea of a Croquembouche, I might need to work up to it!

And of course I want to do all this while being and eating healthier!

What new techniques would you like to try for 2012?

  • Scott

    This is cheating a bit, but a dirty trick I learned from Jamie Oliver’s show is to buy fresh pre-made lasagna, vacuum sealed in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. You roll them up in a log and then cut crosswise slices. Unroll the disks and you’ve got “fresh” pasta in a tenth of the time. It’s not as good as truly homemade pasta, but it’s quick and easy and is still a massive improvement from dried pasta.

    Warm regards and happy cooking in the new year.

    • Yup I am all for cheating too! Sometimes you need quick good food (where your recipe comes in) and sometimes you’ve got all day 🙂

  • Hi Lauren, I so understand, there just isn’t enough time in the day to do all that we do sometimes. The new year provides new opportunities so you can get it all done when you’re ready. As for making profiteroles I know you can do it. I’m sure you will learn the important steps for a perfect pate choux, with that it is really an easy task to accomplish and the results are spectacular.

    Happy New Year and good luck with your 2012 resolutions.


  • Well done for managing anything at all this year with a f/t job and a wedding! I thought choux pastry would be difficult but was surprised how easy it was the one and only time I did try it, so you will be fine! Happy hogmanay!

  • Lauren

    Thanks for linking to my Garlic & Rosemary Bread recipe. I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to make it. I also have a recipe for a perfect slicing white bread that slices for sandwiches like a dream.

    Happy New Year! You have some great goals set for the next year!

    • Thank you Arlene, both the garlic and rosemary and white bread look amazing. I can’t wait to start on them 🙂

  • Ooh, you’ve got some fantastic resolutions here! I’m in the midst of making a food challenge list of my own – one includes making a full roast dinner – which might sound silly, but it’s one of those things that I’ve always feared making!!

    I agree with you how it can be so difficult sometimes squeezing in time to think up, make and post foodal stuff on a regular basis, but the new year, however cheesy it seems, is always a good time to sit down and write down some solid goals.

    Good luck with yours and look forward to following your progress!

    Hungry Jenny x

  • New fan. This is a wonderful list of challenges. I do quite a few clubs and it is so hard to keep up sometimes. I’ve skipped many where I don’t like the food they picked. Now at a point where I need to do all the challenges for the next few months. Sure hope it isn’t something I hate. Lol. I love that you took the time to really think about what you want to do and make a list. It’s a great thing to do!

  • We agree! Fantastic list of challenges you’ve got here. Fingers crossed, we hope to expand our veggie garden this year and try to keep the critters out a little better, too. Glad we stopped by your lovely blog!